Consumers searching online for a fee-charging adviser may miss out as just 2.3% of IFAs advertise themselves as fee-based on their own websites, according to research.
Only 230 independent financial adviser (IFA) firms are actively describing their service as fee-based, out of a total of about 10,000 firms in UK, according to VouchedFor.co.uk.
VouchedFor.co.uk built an algorithm to search the web to identify IFA websites and work out whether they were describing themselves as either fee-based or fee-only, before manually reviewing their results.
Adam Price, founder of VouchedFor.co.uk, said the lack of explicit labels and key words to show how an IFA gets paid makes it hard for consumers to choose a fee-based adviser.
"In the run-up to RDR, more and more consumers will be searching for a fee-based IFA," he said.
"Consumers will begin to understand commission is rightly being outlawed under RDR, and will instead begin turning to those IFAs who have made the move to fee-based advice ahead of the RDR deadline.
"However, today very few IFA directories make it easy to find fee-based IFAs, and relatively few IFAs appear to be actively encouraging this option over commission."
Price said the "controversy and confusion" surrounding RDR had detracted from the public being educated on the benefits of paying for advice by fee, rather than commission.
He said most large firms and bodies within the industry are not yet economically incentivised to promote fee-based IFAs over commission-based ones.
VouchedFor.co.uk allows advisers' clients to review and rate their service. Advisers must join the site, which is restricted to those offering a fee-based service.
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